Businesses report harassment for displaying BLM signage

Some eateries in Eugene feel they've been targeted as a result of supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Posted: Aug 16, 2020 5:14 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Liberty Espresso owner Katie Stowe says they've been getting hate mail and angry customers at least once per week after adding Black Lives Matter signage around their shop.

"We have customers come up and call us all sorts of names," Stowe said. "I've had people throw their stamp cards at us saying that they'll never come back."

Stowe says they've received death threats and letters asking to stop their support for Black Lives Matter. 

"Initially we were heart broken," Stowe said. "But now it's so regular that it's just unfortunate."

Stowe is concerned for both employee safety and overall business. She says some of her regular customers have stopped buying their coffee. 

"They actually wait in line just to tell us 'I'm never coming back here again,'" Stowe said.

Stowe says they've had signage stolen from their store front. Despite the loss of sales she doesn't plan on taking down the signs.

"If I can't find anymore signs I'm going to paint it on our windows," Stowe said. "Because until this movement is going towards something that isn't what I think is right then I'm going to stand right on for it."

Liberty Espresso isn't the only business that's felt targeted.

Sweet Life Patisserie co-owner Cheryl Reinhart took down their BLM decor to replace it with NAACP flyers after receiving phone calls from angry customers. 

"I just don't want my employees to have to deal with people like that calling us and being irrational and unreasonable and being mad at us for that," Reinhart said. "So that was part of it."

Sweet Life is donating 25 percent of their sales from the first Tuesday of every month to organizations that support the black community. 

"If we did get anybody not coming in because they don't support Black Lives Matter and they don't think we should, I think we probably got more people coming because we support Black Lives Matter," Reinhart said.

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